Isn’t it simply wonderful to watch your favorite artist sing while playing the guitar? While the pros make it look easy, learning how to sing and play guitar at the same time is a lot harder than you think. If you are having problems doing both at the same time, know that you’re not alone.
While some can do it almost instantly, others would need months of practice just to master this skill. To help you out, we have prepared a few simple tips that can help you advance your guitar playing and singing skills.
Are You Ready to Do It?
Here are simple hints that would determine if you are ready to sing and play guitar simultaneously.
- You already know how to sing and play guitar
- You are not looking at the chord changes or your strumming hand
- You’ve memorized the chords of different songs
How to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time
If you said yes to all of the hints mentioned above, then you are ready to practice this skill. We will give you a few simple tips and tricks on how to do this.
Step 1: Pick an Easy Song
To start practicing, pick songs that are easy to play on the guitar. There are songs with only a few chords that you would only need to repeat until the song is done.
One of these songs would be “Passenger Seat” by Stephen Speaks. The simplified version only has four chords that you simply need to repeat throughout the song.
The keys are very basic, so it would be easier for you to play and sing simultaneously because you won’t have any trouble switching between chords.
Other songs you can practice by playing only four keys are “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor, “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, and more.
Step 2: Listen to the Song Multiple Times
To be able to play a song correctly, you would want to listen to that same song for about 20 to 30 times or more. Memorize every word and pay attention to when the notes change. Singing that same song should be as natural as breathing so that you won’t mess up once you start playing guitar. You can use headphones while listening to the song, as it would help you focus and prevent unnecessary noises from ruining it.
Step 3: Work on Your Vocals
One of the most important things when playing guitar and singing is that you need to be able to sing correctly. You should hit the right notes, and you should always be in tune with the song you are singing.
If you can’t even hit a note correctly, you won’t be able to play and sing efficiently because your tune would be different from the tune that the guitar is playing. It would also mess up your rhythm, and you will make a lot of mistakes along the way.
Step 4: Memorize the Chords
Once you’ve listened to the song multiple times, the next step is to memorize the chords. If you are playing a song with just four chords, you won’t have a hard time memorizing it. However, more than just memorizing it, you also need to know when to switch from one chord to the next. To practice this, listen to the song as you practice playing it on your guitar. In this way, you’d be familiarized with the timing.
Step 5: Be Comfortable With Your Strumming Pattern
Since you already know how to play guitar, you won’t have a hard time choosing a strumming pattern. The only thing that you need to do is to be comfortable with it and practice it multiple times. Practice until you can do a specific strumming pattern without having to think about it.
Step 6: Automate the Guitar Part
One of the best ways to sing and play guitar simultaneously is to automate the guitar part. This means that you should be able to play any song even if you are talking with someone else.
You can ask a friend or a family member to converse with you while you play a song. Make sure that you don’t stutter with the guitar while conversing with others. If you can smoothly play the guitar while speaking, it means that you are 50% ready to practice the skill.
Step 7: Play Muted Strums While Singing
You are slowly getting there; you just need to sing the song while playing muted strums. Put a hand loosely on the fret just to make sure that you get a muted click. The goal of playing muted strums is to help you feel what it would be like to sing and play guitar simultaneously.
Since you’ve already listened to the melody multiple times, you should work on the rhythm of the song and how you plan to play it with a guitar. You can try to sing with the lyrics or just hum the melody if you are still having a hard time doing both.
Step 8: Add the Chords
After playing with muted strums, it is time to add the chords and play the actual music. Instead of singing the song or humming the melody out loud, try to sing or hum the melody in your mind while playing.
Step 9: Play the Song and Sing With It
The last and final step is to play the song and sing along with it. Since you’ve already automated the guitar part and you’ve memorized the song, the next step is to apply everything together.
Start with the first stanza of the song and work your way up until you finish it. Learning how to sing and play guitar at the same time takes time, so take it slow and absorb everything.
Important Tips to Improve Faster
Now that you already know how to sing and play guitar at the same time, the next step is to level up your new-found skill. Practice makes perfect, and the best tip is to just keep on practicing until you can play the guitar and sing with ease. If you want to improve yourself quicker, here are some of the simple tips that you can follow.
1. Turn It Into a Habit
If you are learning how to play guitar for fun and don’t have a lot of time to practice several hours a day, you can just turn it into a habit. You can do about five to 10 minutes of repetitive guitar playing and singing, and do it regularly. Eventually, you will get the hang of it, and you won’t even notice that you can already play the guitar and sing efficiently.
2. Keep Playing Even If You Make a Mistake
Mistakes are very common, especially if you are just starting. In fact, it is a part of learning. If you made a mistake, just repeat the stanza and try again. Don’t be disheartened; even the most celebrated guitarists and singers made a lot of mistakes before they become professionals.
3. Beginners Should Focus on Strumming
Fingerstyle patterns are extremely hard to master, and they require more focus, time, and patience. If you are only a beginner, it is better to familiarize yourself with the strumming patterns first.
Once you have mastered the strumming patterns and you can play guitar and sing without stuttering, you can then proceed to a more advanced technique. You have to take note that being good with strumming does not mean that you already know how to play the fingerstyle patterns. They are two completely different things, and you will have to repeat the same tips mentioned above to learn about this.
4. Practice Single Strum per Chord While Singing
This is one of the best things that you can do to play guitar and sing simultaneously because you only need to do a single strum per chord. Doing this will help familiarize yourself with the song and the strumming patterns.
If you are practicing a song with only four chords, you just have to strum once before you change the chord. Simply repeat it until you finish the song. Make sure that you sing along so that you will get the hang of it.
5. Watch Video Tutorials
The fastest way to learn is to get tips and tricks from professional singers and guitarists. They would explain everything that you need to know about playing guitars and singing. They would also show you the different strumming patterns you can use and how to choose a proper song when you are practicing.
Singing and playing guitar can be done separately with ease, but doing both of them at the same time requires time. As a beginner, expect that you would fail during your first tries. However, if you keep practicing, trust that you’d get the hang of it in no time.
The tips we mentioned above can help you out, but the rest is up to you. You have to be the one to do the hard work. Nevertheless, guitar playing is a skill that you won’t regret learning. There are many more advanced techniques that you can learn, which makes it a useful hobby that you can spend time on for a long time.